My Uber Driver Mask Incident

My Uber Driver Mask Incident

Well, yesterday I encountered my first Uber mask “situation”.

Uber demands that everyone wear masks

Uber has a policy that some drivers and passengers must wear masks, with a few exceptions.

I didn’t have much experience until this. For the first six months of the epidemic I used the rightshare app twice – to go to the airport & An international trip of mine. Both rides are undetectable.

However, since I came to Germany I have been using a little more to get around Uber, and my experiences until this weekend were good – not only were the drivers wearing masks, but there was a plastic shield in the front and back row. Between that and opening the windows, it feels safe enough.

Then I did my ride yesterday.

My Uber driver was angry about wearing the mask

Yesterday afternoon Ford and I arrived at an Uber in Berlin. It was raining so I could not open the windows, this was the first big one I had since coming to Germany, where there was no plastic shield between the first and second row (I’m not sure if this was one way or another policy, or if the drivers did something).

I immediately sat behind the driver and the Ford sat next to me. When we got on the Uber, I saw the driver wearing his mask… and then 10 seconds after we got inside he took it off. I could not see it directly, but Ford texted me about it.

One minute for the ride the guy (in German) asked “Is everything alright?” said.

Ford politely asked “Can you wear your mask please?”

He said “Why, do you think I have a corona?”

At that time I explained to him that we do not know who has the corona virus, it is about precautionary measures and Uber drivers and passengers should wear masks.

When he wore the mask:

  • He spent about 30 seconds on the masks, how awkward they were to wear, and we thought he had a corona virus.
  • He started driving very aggressively, accelerated fast and went fast around the corners.

As for the instant Uber feedback loop, I’m a little confused as to why he was so arguable about it. If he had worn the mask, I would not have reported him or given him a bad review. But because he was so rude about it, I gave him a star and complained that he was not wearing a mask.

For what it’s worth, he’s the lowest rated Uber driver (4.6 stars), so I think it’s not surprising.

Bottom line

Apparently asking someone to wear a mask in line with a company policy is like now accusing them of having a corona virus. To be clear, for me this is not about whether you are pro-mask or anti-mask.

It’s very simple – with few exceptions, Uber guarantees that drivers will wear masks. He put the mask on when we got in the car to indicate he was wearing the mask, but after a few seconds he took it off. When confronted with that he tried to argue again and I do not know what he is trying to achieve

Have you had any masking incidents if you used the rightshare app during infections? How did they go?

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Cory Weinberg

About the Author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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